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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"But WHY, mommy??"

Her new favorite phrase - 'but why, mommy?' We've hit that stage. She's so inquisitive and its not coming from a place of disrespect - she is honestly curious about WHY we do the things we do. But why can't I pour water out of the tub? But why can't I eat chocolate pudding for breakfast? But why can't I...

Most of the time, I'm calm and give her an explanation to satisfy her curiosity. And I usually get a "yes ma'am" or "alright" for a response. But there are times, say after the 900th but why, that I resort to..."because I said so"...I swore I'd never say that because I HATED when mom said that to me as a child, but man it is difficult. The little girl has a way of wearing me down.

Today was one of those days. I lost count of the "but whys" after about 200. But as I held and rocked my 33lb 3.5 year old to sleep tonight, stroking her hair and kissing on those sweet cheeks of hers, I muttered: "because I love you and want the best for you, little girl." And that is my constant and consistent prayer - that all I'd do for my children would be from a place of pure love. Because they deserve that from their mommy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

What do you say....

When someone shares with you something uncomfortable? What do you say when a friend tells you that she just found out her 33wk baby inside her is guaranteed to die? What do you say when a friend shares with you the pain of being sexually assaulted? Or a miscarriage? Or a family member that has cancer? WHAT do you say when you don't know what to say??

Maybe a better question would be WHY do you HAVE to say anything at all? Sometimes, there are no words. But actions speak louder than words. A hug, a pat on the back, just someone to listen to and be there....sometimes that is so much better than the cliches. Even if they're true, its probably not the most helpful thing to say in that moment. The silence sometimes is better than empty words and false sympathy. So next time a friend tells you something that you don't really know how to respond to - don't feel like you have to say anything at all. Hold a hand, hug a friend, shed some tears with a friend, pray over your friend - but don't feel compelled to have to say something.


Most every morning, we follow the same routine. I get the kids up and ready for school. I drop Shiloh off first and then Joey. I usually then head straight over to the gym to workout. I love this time. Its MY time. I don't have screaming children in my ears and I'm doing something that makes me feel good. Anyways, I digress...

Here I go - my fat hiney up on the elliptical. And folks, this is not a pretty sight...but my butt huffs and puffs and I somehow make it through the entire workout - the grace of God, no doubt. While I'm sucking wind, I usually try to distract myself from the burning in my legs and the seeming lack of oxygen in my lungs. This helps pass the time. But one can only watch so many re-runs of Law and Order before the tv is out. Music is good and that is usually my go to. But I often find myself staring out the window and daydreaming. If daydreaming were an olympic sport, I'd make America proud :D So imagine my level of annoyance when something so rudely interrupted me. Enter little red - a male cardinal that hangs out outside Aerofit. Every morning, its the same thing. I don't know if he's seeing his reflection in the glass and fighting with himself, or if he's trying to get in the building. But every morning, little red flies and crashes into the window. Every 3-4 seconds, this bird smacks his face in the window. Over and over and over again. Every day, this poor, stupid bird tries and tries and tries to get inside the glass, and every morning he smacks his face, over and over again.

It makes me laugh at first, thinking how dumb this bird is. But then it makes me sad. He keeps doing the same thing, over and over again, and never gets different results. So I started thinking, what actions do I do over and over again but expect different results?? What patterns of sin do I continue in, and expect different results?? Hmmm, suddenly, I'm looking a lot like that stupid red bird. That's where I'm at. Assessing where I'm at, what needs to change, and how to implement that change. Where are you?

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'll pray for you....

I've probably uttered that phrase a hundred times. And then I go about my life, not bothering to keep my word. Is it because I'm too busy? Too distracted? Or lazy? I think at one point or another, I was all of these. But worse than that, I think that I was just flippant about prayer. It sounds nice when someone is struggling..."Oh, I'll pray for you" knowing full well that you have no intention of doing that. Or you really want to know what's going on in some one's life so you say, "Is there anything I can be praying about for you?" It is really easy to say these words, but not always so easy to follow through.

So this year, my on-going prayer request for BSF was that I'd be consistent in prayer and committed to praying for those around me.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Why do I pray? Besides being commanded to...

  • Prayer reminds me that I am not the solution to the problem but that I have access to the One who IS.
  • Prayer aligns my heart with God's.
  • Prayer takes my heart beyond selfish motives.
  • Prayer acknowledges God for who He is and what He has done
  • Prayer brings about spiritual wisdom and understanding
Those are just a few of the many reasons that I pray. Know this - if I say, "I'll pray for you" - you can rest easy knowing that I'm going to the Lord on your behalf, and that I'm right there in the trenches with you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I was cleaning off a shelf today and I came across our copy of Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. I dusted it off and smiled. Kyle and I were married only 10 days when we started this study at our church. We had a really neat group of Godly couples in there that had been married varying lengths of time. I began to thumb back through the book, laughed at the notes we wrote in the margins, and really laughed when I got to the sex chapter. I mean, we were married for 10 days - how could that chapter possible apply to us?

I ran across the quote:  "As Christians, our greatest witness should be keeping our marriages together. And we're not. Our divorce rate looks no different than the world's."

Wow. How convicting is that? While I couldn't give the exact "whys" of that statistic within the church, I really wonder why our marriages are failing. I wonder if part of it has to do with the way the world sees marriage and how little regard for commitment there is. I had a very wise woman remind me once, when Kyle and I were really struggling, that marriage isn't about happiness but holiness. Huh? Say what? You mean I'm not in this marriage for what I can get out of it???

When I first gave thought to that statement, I had a lot of questions for the Lord. What then God, if I'm not happy, You still want me to stick with this? And what if I'm NEVER happy? Don't I DESERVE to be happy? What then, Lord? I'm still to stay committed to a marriage that is unhappy?

And the answer to those questions, those prayers was: YES, child! Marriage is not about happiness, but holiness. What if marriage was about an imperfect human being learning to love another imperfect human being? What if I viewed my love of my spouse and the way I treat my spouse as one of the many ways I can worship and serve God? For me, I choose to worship and honor God by the way I treat his son, my husband.

When I took those vows to love my husband -
"Will you love him, comfort and keep him, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all other remain true to him as long as you both shall live?"
These weren't just empty words that I muttered. I was serious about my commitment to him and the covenant that I made with him before God and our families.

And so I would encourage you - keep working on your marriages. Talk with your spouse, communicate needs and desires, and always remain in a constant state of prayer. And remember - marriage is not always about your personal happiness. Its about being stretched, pulled, refined, and grown. And its about commitment. So hang in there and fight the good fight!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Love is....

"The commitment of my will to your needs and best interests, regardless of the cost." - Dr. Tim Kimmel, Grace Based Parenting

So we've been working through Dr. Kimmel's book GBP in our Sunday School class. This week's lesson, A Secure Love, really spoke to me. It was convicting. I struggle with the balance of grace and law. I grow weary of the barrage of unsolicited advice: "Oh, you just need to spank him more and he'll settle down." "We don't allow that behavior in our house" "You need to show him who the boss is"...Barf. Puh-lease. I'm ashamed to admit this - but I can attest to it - you cannot beat the sin nature out of a child. No matter how "consistently" you beat them. When people say that, it makes me want to smack them. Ask them how they like it. But alas, I smile and walk away...chewing on my tongue to try not to say something that I might regret later...or feel guilty because I DON'T regret saying it even though I should.

Grace. I used to think that GBP equaled permissive parenting. And nothing could be further from the truth. So when Dr. Kimmel gave us the definition of love - its like the lightbulb went off. AHA, this is what I'm looking for. And its a struggle. I feel like I've never been able to know and be close with women who share the two biggest passions of mine - Jesus Christ and responsive parenting. I have lots of friends that practice gentle and "attachment" parenting practices, but we don't share the Lord. Not having that connection is tough. Our lives are so drastically different. And then I know lots of people that love Jesus that parent so differently that there's no connection on that level. As we work through this book study, I am given hope. Hope that somewhere out there, there is a woman that loves Jesus and parents her children similarly to the way that I do. Someone that I can share my heart with. For now, I trudge on.

Back to his definition of love:

to your needs and best interests....

This has taken on such different meanings for me over the past 5.5yrs. With Shiloh it was a baby that needed to be held ALL.THE.TIME. That sweet boy might as well have been conjoined at the hip to me. He caused me to throw out basically every pre-conceived notion of parenting that I had. Before I had him, I was the BEST parent. And after I had him, I realized how truly dumb I was. CLUELESS. He had an intense need to be close to mommy. So I met that need...despite the touts of "you're going to ruin him, he's going to be a spoiled brat, he'll never learn how to be independent" Sigh - yes, I heard all of these things on more than one occasion. I even once had someone tell me that I was ruining him by nursing him when he wanted to nurse. It was a tough course trying to swim against the current.

And Miss Diva - she challenged me in the way that I couldn't have imagined. She was such a happy baby. She wasn't quite as intense, but she shared her big brother's affinity for being held. Only difference was that someone different than mommy could hold her and she was totally content. But oh the sickies. Poor thing was poked, prodded, and tested by more doctors than I could ever have imagined. And she was on more drugs than I would ever have wanted for her little body. But she hung in there like a trooper until we finally figured out the problem. I really didn't think that we'd still be co-sleeping at 3.5, but this is what she needs right now. And so, we're here for her. It is tough when I think about all of my friend's whose kids all sleep in their beds at night without getting up. Kyle and I will wake up many mornings sandwiched in between one or both of the kids.

But then I remember -

Love is the commitment of my will to your needs and best interests, regardless of the cost.

...regardless of the cost....

This is what it means when you get up in the middle of the night to pat them or snuggle them back to sleep when they've had a bad dream. Or sacrificing time to yourself so that you can spend time filling their emotional love tanks. Even if the cost is me dancing around the living room, acting like a fool...or daddy having tea and crackers with Joey and her dolls...REGARDLESS OF THE COST...

I'm striving to live this out in my life. To work to meet their needs as I set mine wants aside. May they always know and feel the intense love that I have for them. And may that love point them to Jesus - whose love is perfect and never fails.

Monday, September 19, 2011

RAIN and Mondays...

I woke up to the most glorious sound at about 5am....the sound of rain! At first, I was totally confused. Being 16" below the yearly average for rain had me skeptical that we'd ever see rain again. It was glorious. I just stared out the window and watched, with a thankful heart, as the ground soaked up the much-needed rain. Thank you, Lord, for Your provision!!!

This week marks the beginning of a really busy week. Joey has speech therapy this morning and I get to have lunch with Shiloh during that time. Then its off to an AA meeting with a classmate - don't go without your buddy!!! And no, I'm not an alcoholic....we have to do this for part of our mental health clinical hours :-) BSF is tonight and I'm looking forward to it. Its one of the best parts of my week. Drum-roll please...I start my Labor and Delivery clinicals tomorrow morning at St. Joe's. I hope to make some good contacts here and that in a year, they'll remember a good way ;) Speaking of...I'm pretty sure that a care-plan needs to be completed for this. Hmmm. I'll have to get on that. Then I work afterwards till 11pm. Tomorrow is a LONG day. Wednesday I volunteer in Shiloh's classroom and we have home church Wednesday night after Shiloh's swim practice and soccer meeting. Thursday I have to go take my OB exam at Blinn, then I work from 2-11. Friday I have BSF leader's meeting - EARLY - then I'm FREEEEEE Friday...until Shiloh's swim practice at 530. Man, I'm tired just looking at all I have to do .

Which is why its a good thing that His mercies are new every morning...